Winter Classic Nearly Sold Out, Expected To Break Hockey Attendance Record
Olympia Entertainment President & CEO Tom Wilson yesterday said that the '14 Winter Classic between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs "is sold out," except for "some single seats," according to Ansar Khan of MLIVE.com. Wilson said that approximately 120,000 tickets "have been sold for the five major Winter Festival events at Comerica Park -- the two alumni games on Dec. 31, the OHL and AHL games and the Great Lakes Invitational." He said, "We're feeling pretty good about being able to deliver exactly what we talked about two years ago when this idea first came across, which is setting a record for the best attended hockey event ever and also making a serious difference in downtown Detroit." Khan noted the Winter Classic is expected to "break the all-time hockey attendance record" of 104,173 set at Michigan Stadium during the Dec. 11, 2010 Michigan State-Michigan game. This season's game "will easily break the event’s all-time attendance record of 71,217," set in '08 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Meanwhile, NHL Exec VP/Sales & Sponsorships Keith Wachtel said that 23 brands "are sponsoring the Winter Classic, the most ever for this event" (MLIVE.com, 11/20). In Detroit, George Sipple notes about 42,000 tickets "have been sold for the GLI games, 30,000 for the OHL and 30,000 for the alumni games." An estimated 10,000 tickets "remain for the alumni games." The NHL will "begin building the rink Dec. 2 at Michigan Stadium and will work through Dec. 23." After a break, the league will "resume work Dec. 26 and work through the completion of the event." On Dec. 31, each team will "have two hours to practice, bring their families out and take photos." The NHL "set up the seating so that half the stadium would ideally be decked in red and the other half in blue" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 11/20).
FEELING FESTIVE: In Detroit, Melody Baetens notes the Coke Zero Fan Zone at the Dec. 27-31 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park will feature "a Hockey Hall of Fame tent, food and entertainment outside." Some of the hands-on activities include "street hockey, interactive games and an inflatable toboggan slide," along with a "full-size synthetic ice rink" (DETROIT NEWS, 11/20). In Ann Arbor, Ryan Stanton notes an "especially festive New Year's Eve celebration is in store for downtown Ann Arbor, with plans for 'The Puck Drops Here' now approved." The Ann Arbor Convention & Visitor's Bureau is "the primary sponsor of the event, which is being billed as family-friendly." Ice sculptures representing both hockey teams "are expected to add to the festive atmosphere downtown." Michigan-based design and fabrication studio Metal LLC is "creating a six-foot puck lit with more than 6,000 LED lights that will drop at midnight" (MLIVE.com, 11/19).